Places to go in Yosemite

Yosemite Valley, home to many of the famous cliffs and waterfalls that make Yosemite National Park famous is accessible by car and bus all year.

To Get There

Car: You can drive into and around Yosemite Valley all year. Highways 41, 140, and 120 (from the west) provide access all year, although tire chains may be required from October or November through March or April.

Bus: Amtrak and Greyhound provide public transportation to Yosemite Valley.
Free shuttle service is available year-round in eastern Yosemite Valley and, in summer, as far west as El Capitan. We encourage you to use shuttle buses to reduce traffic congestion.

Guide to Yosemite National Park-yosemite-valley-jpg

Visitor Centers & Museums

Valley Visitor Center (all year): Ranger-staffed information desk, bookstore, Spirit of Yosemite film, and exhibit hall detailing the park's geology, plant and animal life, and history.

Valley Wilderness Center (May to October): Offers wilderness permits, bear canisters, maps, and guidebooks. Information on pre-trip planning, minimum-impact camping, and the Yosemite Wilderness.

Yosemite Museum (all year): The Indian Cultural Exhibit and Village interprets the cultural history of Yosemite's native Miwok and Paiute people from 1850 to the present. Demonstrations of traditional skills are presented. The Gallery offers art exhibits periodically throught the year.

Nature Center at Happy Isles (May to September): Designed for nature-exploring families, this center offers natural history exhibits, and interactive displays. Nearby are short trails through the area’s forest, river, and fen environments. Evidence of the huge 1996 rockfall from the Glacier Point cliff is visible above.

LeConte Memorial Lodge (late May to early September): Yosemite's first public visitor center, operated by the Sierra Club, features a children's corner, library, and a variety of environmental education and evening programs.


Art & Photography (all year)
Biking (spring to fall)
Birdwatching (all year)
Fishing (spring to fall)
Hiking & Walking (all year)
Horseback Riding & Stock Use (spring to fall)
Ice Skating (winter)
Ranger & Interpretive Programs (all year)
Stargazing (all year)
Tours (all year)
Water Activities (summer)

Points of Interest

Guide to Yosemite National Park-waterfalls-jpgWaterfalls: Yosemite Valley is home to most of the park's famous waterfalls. The best time to see them is during spring runoff; they have little or no water in late summer and fall.

Guide to Yosemite National Park-tunnelview-jpgTunnel View provides one of the most famous views of Yosemite Valley. From here you can see El Capitan and Bridalveil Fall rising from Yosemite Valley, with Half Dome in the background. This viewpoint is at the east end of the Wawona Tunnel along the Wawona Road (Highway 41).

Guide to Yosemite National Park-capitan-meadow-jpgIn Yosemite Valley, El Capitan Meadow provides a view straight up El Capitan and a great view of Cathedral Rocks, as well. Located along one-way Northside Drive, it is best to stop here on your way out of Yosemite Valley.

You can look up Yosemite Valley from alongside the Merced River at Valley View. Located along one-way Northside Drive, it is best to stop here on your way out of Yosemite Valley. This popular vista is located just after a view of Bridalveil Fall but immediately before Pohono Bridge, about the time you begin to see directional signs for highways leaving the park.